Lena Taylor Ends Lt. Governor Campaign
State senator ran for mayor in 2020. Will she run in upcoming special election?
State Senator Lena Taylor is stopping her campaign for Lieutenant Governor.
Taylor, a Milwaukee Democrat, announced the decision Thursday evening.
She has been involved with the redistricting process at both the city and county level as an advocate. In her formal role as senator, she voted against a plan from her fellow Democrats saying it didn’t do enough for minority communities.
Now she’s leaving the race to them.
Incumbent Mandela Barnes is running for U.S. Senate instead of reelection alongside Governor Tony Evers. The winner of the Democratic lieutenant governor contest will be paired with Evers in a race against the Republican ticket.
Is she running for mayor?
Taylor said she was considering a run when she visited City Hall on Aug. 25, the day Mayor Tom Barrett was announced as the nominee for Ambassador to Luxembourg. Barrett was confirmed last week and resigned Wednesday evening, clearing the way for a mayoral race to formally begin. A primary will occur Feb. 15 with a general election April 5. The lieutenant governor race, meanwhile, won’t appear on the ballot until August and November.
The senator challenged Barrett in 2020, losing 63-37 in a race that ended amidst the early COVID-19 pandemic and state’s Safer at Home order.
She did not respond to a request for comment on a potential second run on Friday morning. Signatures are due Jan 11.
Taylor has served as state senator since 2005. The 55-year-old won a special election to serve in the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2003 and an open election for 4th Senate District in 2004, succeeding Gwen Moore. She was most recently re-elected in November 2020.
In announcing her 2020 mayoral run, Taylor said her biggest accomplishment at the state level was her work on justice reinvestment and criminal justice reform. She also championed her work on urban agriculture, specifically hemp legalization.
Taylor has occasionally engendered controversy in recent years. She was removed in 2018 from the Joint Committee on Finance, a powerful state budget committee, by Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). The move came after an investigation determined she bullied members of her staff and took retaliatory action against one.
Just weeks before that Taylor had an altercation at a Wells Fargo bank branch where she called a teller, who like Taylor is Black, a “house (N-word).” She was issued a citation for the matter.
In 2019, when launching her mayoral campaign, she insisted there were two sides to the story, but said: “that’s the past.” She said Shilling was wrong for taking her off the committee,
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